A RENOWNED brass musician and conductor is handing over his baton after 40 years of dedicating his life to bringing music into people's lives.

Dennis Chalk, 78, has a long-standing interest in music and started playing the cornet with Broad Chalke Brass Band when he was 11.

After many years playing in the Army, he returned to Broad Chalke Band before moving to Sixpenny Handley Brass Band and Woodfalls Silver Band where he met Courtney Bosanko, who conducted Woodfalls Band at three championship contests.

Dennis wanted to give something back to the brass band world and took Bosanko's suggestion to teach young musicians.

In 1965, he chose four players from the area and began teaching them at his home.

The four soon became 15 and Dennis founded the Wilton and District School Band after the head of Wilton School gave him instruments to use.

Many of the pupils left the school but continued playing in the band and the name was changed to Wilton and District Youth Band, which Dennis has conducted for 40 years.

In 1993, he conducted the band at the West of England Youth Championships, which they won and represented the region in the national finals in Manchester.

Throughout his years with the band Dennis has also won a number of awards for his services to young people and the brass band world.

In 1987, he was awarded the British Empire medal, he became an honorary member of the Worshipful Company of Musicians in 1992 and, in 2005, he won one of the Journal's People Awards.

Colin Herbert will take over from Dennis.

Colin is a former Army musician who was, for many years, principal euphonium at Sherborne Town Band, and he conducted the Sherborne Youth Band and the newly-formed Two Castles Youth Band in Sherborne.

Retiring from conducting through ill health and a wish to see the band progress even further, Dennis said: "It has been a real pleasure for me to see so many young people gaining enjoyment and fun from music over the last 40 years."

A free concert to commemorate his 40 years with the band will take place at 3pm on Sunday, September 14 at the Michael Herbert Hall, Wilton.